As I continue reading the Koran, I’ve come now to another oft-quoted verse:
“Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth has been made clear from error. Whoever rejects false worship and believes in God has grasped the most trustworthy handhold that never breaks. And God hears and knows all things.” (Quran 2:256)
When I read this, I let out a deep breath. I liked this. A lot. Let there be no compulsion in religion. I repeated those words to myself several times. But then, thoughts started running around in my head.
No compulsion? Doesn’t every religion have compulsory practices? Muslims are instructed to pray at least five times a day. Latter-Day Saints are required to pay ten percent of their income if they want to attend the temple, and Catholics are expected to fast, to pray, to attend mass on holy days.
And what of the restrictions? In some religious denominations, dancing is sinful. Others demand abstinence from tobacco and alcohol. Some churches even step into the bedroom and demand that true believers shun any contraceptives.
Excuse me, but aren’t all of these rules a form of compulsion? Over and over, I heard people talking about free will, but it doesn’t seem so free to me. We have the right to make our own choices, but it always comes down to this:
- Follow all the rules and go to heaven
- Forget the rules and go to hell
Well, yes, that is a choice, but if the only way to heaven is to follow the rules, isn’t that the same thing as being compelled?
But, woe under those who choose to believe, because then, despite all the talk of free will and personal agency, it’s their way…or that highway to hell. Take your pick.
- Religion (mccoreke.wordpress.com)
- Religion is not a compulsion (alirazashallwani.wordpress.com)
- Verses of Peace in the Holy Q’uran (bukunmionline.wordpress.com)
- The concept of tolerance in Islam (sierraexpressmedia.com)
- Religion (pseudosciencer.wordpress.com)
- Religion of Peace really? (antiislamicmovement.wordpress.com)
- Common themes in Religion (objectivereligion.wordpress.com)
- Holy scripture from God? Ethics and Religion Talk on the source of sacred texts (mlive.com)